Why Diageo Is Up 22% This Year

LONDON -- Diageo (ISE: DGE.L) (NYS: DEO) has advanced 22% to 1,715 pence so far during 2012, making the share one of this year's best performers in the FTSE 100.

The drinks group, which boasts brands such as Guinness, Johnnie Walker, and Captain Morgan, has defied the wider economic gloom with a series of positive statements.

During February, Diageo reported half-year results that showed net sales up 7% to 5.76 billion pounds and underlying operating profit up 9% to 1.87 billion pounds. Progress in emerging markets was a particular highlight, with profit in such regions up 23%. The interim dividend was raised 7% to 16.6 pence per share.

During May, Diageo issued a trading statement that confirmed total sales had improved 11% during the group's third quarter.

Then in August, Diageo revealed that full-year sales had advanced 8% to 10.76 billion pounds, and operating profit had improved 9% to 3.2 billion. The greatest progress occurred in Africa, where sales gained 11%, and Latin America and the Caribbean, where sales increased 19%. The annual dividend was lifted 8% to 43.5 pence per share, too.

Paul Walsh, Diageo's chief executive, said at the time:

Diageo is a strong business, getting stronger and the results we released show that very clearly. We have increased our presence in the faster growing markets of the world, through both acquisitions and strong organic growth. We have enhanced our leading brand positions globally, through effective marketing and industry-leading innovation and we have strengthened our routes to market. 6% organic top line growth, 9% operating profit growth and 60 basis points of margin expansion is a strong performance and demonstrates our commitment to delivering efficient growth.

Diageo's first-quarter update will coincide with the group's annual general meeting on Oct. 17, and it may provide further positive news.

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